American Elephants


ObamaCare On Life-Support, But Brain-Dead. by The Elephant's Child

Donald Verrilli

It was almost two years ago, when President Obama’s solicitor general Donald Verrilli told the Supreme Court that without the individual mandate, ObamaCare would fail. In his oral arguments before the court Mr. Verrilli made it clear that without the individual mandate ObamaCare would “make matters worse, not better”

He told the justices the “guaranteed issue” and “community rating” regulations at the heart of ObamaCare would not work if you allowed the  young and healthy to choose not to buy insurance. It turns out that if people can wait until after they get sick to buy insurance, and get it at a subsidized rate, most will do exactly that, resulting in an insurance premium death spiral. When Kentucky tried these reforms, “virtually every insurer left the market.” In New Jersey, insurance rates doubled, causing its market to collapse.

ObamaCare was supposed to avoid this because of the mandate and the tax penalty on those who did not buy insurance. After the cancellation fiasco last year, Obama added a one-year expansion to the mandate’s “hardship exemption” for anyone who’d  had policies canceled. Then last week, Obama quietly extended this loophole for two more years as the Wall Street Journal discovered. So people can claim an exemption if they’ve had their previous plan cancelled and “consider the other plans available unaffordable.” They just need a copy of the cancellation notice.

The rules are incredibly loose for exemptions. Someone claiming to have “experienced domestic violence” is automatically exempt without any need for documentation. Or just fail to pay a utility bill until a shut-off notice comes, and send that in. Instant hardship exemption.

Democrats also neutered the IRS’s ability to collect the penalty — avoiding political blowback, but giving the uninsured little incentive to pay. Sounds like it has already collapsed entirely, it’s just that nobody wants to admit that the corpse is truly dead.

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